Chasing Colours in Central Japan (Part 1): Kanazawa

The past month has been crazy busy. Apart from my day job, I’ve had visitors staying with me, gone on day trips and weekend getaways, and been writing for an online travel guide (very exciting, but more on that another time). I’ve been dying to share pics from a trip I did in the first weekend of November – better late then never!

I was so eager for the trip that I went to work on the Friday with my travel bag in tow. As soon as I was done for the day, I was straight on the first train out of Tokyo. Three and a half hours later, I met up with my travel companions at our first destination: Kanazawa.



Kanazawa is a city on Japan’s west coast, and is known for a number of things: fresh fish, crab, sushi, friendly people, samurai houses, a beautiful train station featuring a giant drum gate, and a 21st century museum of contemporary art. But over all of that, the one place Japanese people think of when they hear Kanazawa, is Kenrokuen. It’s recognised as one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens, but most people would say there’s no competition; it’s easily THE most beautiful garden in the country.

The name Kenrokuen means ‘a garden consisting of 6 factors’ – it’s spacious yet feels secluded, it’s man-made yet has a feeling of antiquity, and while enjoying the many water features up close we can also take in the view of far-away places which have been mysteriously (abstractly) brought to the garden.

This was actually my second visit to Kenrokuen – the first being Christmas Day 2008 (when I still lived in Australia). I remember being fascinated by the moss gardeners of all things. On that day, they were crouched down on the garden beds as though they were searching for something they’d dropped. But after asking them what they were doing, we found out they were tirelessly weeding unwanted types of moss! And that is how perfection is achieved.

This time around, I went for the autumn foliage. We were a little early but still found pockets of gorgeous colours. The place was packed with Chinese tour groups with their megaphones blaring – not quite the serene morning we were hoping for – but thankfully the garden is massive and it was easy to escape the masses. We were even lucky enough to see a newly wed couple and their bridal party having their photo taken.

It was a magical start to our Saturday, but just the beginning of an amazing weekend. More to come in the next post!

23 thoughts on “Chasing Colours in Central Japan (Part 1): Kanazawa

  1. Hi Celia,
    Your Kenrokuen shots brought back memories and I can remember those parts of the garden well. A gallery owner here in Melbourne who specialises in Japanese art has referred to Kanazawa as the new Kyoto. What do you think of that claim? Keep those Autumn shots coming – I’m in withdrawal haha.


    1. Hi John! Hmm… I think they’re two very different cities. I like that Kanazawa has not been taken over by tourists like Kyoto has, but no other city does shrines and temples as well as Kyoto.
      Lots more autumn pics to come!:)


      1. Hi Celia,
        I totally agree that Kyoto does shrines and temples better than anywhere else and for me will always have that indefinable “something” that just appeals. I think the gallerist was influenced more by Kanazawa’s depth in arts and traditional crafts and. as you say, the fact that it has not been taken over by tourists. Glad to hear there are lots more autumn oils to come :).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How cool u were able to go after a previous visit – to compare and soak up even more – and interesting about the moss collectors – I was just chatting w a blogger about moss and here in Virginia some folks have good fun with it in their yard – and how meticulous those gardeners must be to weed out unwanted moss.
    Anyhow – each photo you have was so nice and you could the historic traditional aspects – 💙


    1. Oh cool, that’s interesting that some people in the States grow moss in their yards. I wonder how hard it is to maintain. My favourite moss garden is actually a temple in Kyoto called Ginkakuji which has a moss covered hillside behind it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Celia (and not sure if you remembered me as I changed blogs) but here in Virginia there is so much green and we are actually the spider state – anyhow – there was a Local gardener featured on this national grade show once – she lived about just 30 minutes from us and she was the master moss lady! She had a very shady property and it was like velvet – and she showed how she transplanted it and grew some from patches. So I do not think all the states here can allow moss gardens – but Virginia does! And did you say an entire hill of moss at Ginkakuji? I bet that is golf course beautiful but more natural than golf course gardening practices –


        1. I realised I hadn’t followed your new blog, so got on top of that right away:) What happened to the old one?
          Wow, there’s even a moss master! How cool. Sounds like Virginia is a nice state to live in. A few friends of mine here in Tokyo have lived there, too.
          Yes – it’s a small forested hill, but immaculate as you’d expect in Japan!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well I look forward to your next post in this series – 💚 and if I get a photo of that lady’s yard (who was featured on the show) I will come back and share it – oh and many little things w the former blog and one of them was just wanted a fresh name – ha! Have a great day C and thx for the follow – ☺️


  3. Wow…that’s really beautiful and must be full of tourists, I guess…^_^
    In winter, the garden with snow looks very pretty, too.
    P.S. I found your blog by Instagram. Very great one.


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